After a glorious week of sunshine and 70- to 80-degree weather and busy, busy days, I am taking a quiet day today as the spring rain falls outside. I need to get my column written and to work on a fascinating new book project I’m writing. I’ll at least get this written and sent off, but the weekend promises to be even busier than usual with a craft/bake sale, a baby-shower, a dessert and bingo evening, a fire prevention program and a birthday dinner for our granddaughter on my schedule.
By the time you read this, the weekend will have passed, hopefully our nice weather will be back and I’ll have survived.
Sadly, Lorane has lost another one of our favorite residents. After suffering several major strokes, Lloyd Porter passed away this past week. Lloyd is remembered by many for his ever-present cowboy hat, jeans, boots and western shirts, and frequently, when he was still riding, his horse would be tied up at the Lorane Family Store while he went in to get a snack.
He always had a bright and sunny disposition and enjoyed making friends, of which he had many. His wife Jeri asked me to let everyone know that there will be a Celebration of Life in Lloyd’s honor on Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m. at the Lorane Christian Church. A potluck will follow. Everyone is invited. Our condolences go out to Jeri and his family.
I’d like to tell you a bit about the new book I’m working on:
Captain John O’Brien homesteaded 160 acres of land west of Lorane in the Letz Creek Road area in 1873, following his four years of service in the American Civil War. I have been very fortunate to connect with a descendant of his who is allowing me to include excerpts from the almost 50 letters that Captain O’Brien wrote to a favorite cousin during the war years.
An Irish immigrant, he enlisted as a private in 1861 in the first volunteer regiment formed in the Union army from Connecticut and by the end of the war, he was honorably discharged as a captain by brevet.
His letters are so very interesting and full of stories about the battles he was involved in with the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery regiment, as well as the conditions he lived under and his reflections on his love for his adopted country and the honor he felt to serve.
After his military service, he went back to his home in New Haven, Connecticut, where he tried working in the trade he apprenticed for before the war — as a printer — but after his years in battle, he felt the need to explore the west. In doing so, first in Helena, Montana and later Sacramento, California and then San Francisco, he became involved in helping to form typographical trade unions to benefit the working men and, later women.
He was soon active in the Federated Trades Assembly — a collection of trade unions that worked together for reform that eventually morphed into the American Federation of Labor (AFL) that was headed by Samuel Gompers.
John soon ended up in Portland, Oregon in the early 1880s where he was president — and on the executive committees — of both the Multnomah Typographical Union #58 and the Federated Trades Assembly of Portland. He also founded the Portland Daily Sun newspaper there.
As often as possible, Captain John O’Brien would retreat to his property in Lorane where he was respected as a gentleman who cared about his neighbors and friends. It was there where he retired in 1907 and where he lived until his death in 1931.
I’m completely enamored of his story and I hope that I can do him justice in this new book which I will probably be calling “The Life and Letters of Captain John O’Brien.” I hope to have it in print by the end of June.
I’m always looking for photos and/or stories of any of our early Lorane residents. I’ve found that each of them had their own special stories that I would like to tell.
Be sure to check out my personal website at http://allthingslorane.com.